Whining vs. changing: The case for personal responsibility

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Part of Overdrive’s mission is to help owner-operators prosper as they choose their own destiny. That idea, with a focus on action over complaining, has been preached by Kevin Rutherford at Overdrive’s Partners in Business seminars for years. He’s shared what he’s learned from early financial failure, running a small fleet, processing income taxes for owner-operators and hosting his trucking radio program.

“You like your life the way it is now or it would be different,” says best-selling author Larry Winget.“You like your life the way it is now or it would be different,” says best-selling author Larry Winget.

These experiences helped him develop his Certified Master Contractor training sessions. Attending part of the recent five-day CMC Live event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, I heard plenty about taking personal responsibility:

  • Podcaster and small-fleet owner Kenny Long recounted what he’s learned from operating with his own authority. In addition to the common advice of identifying and marketing your niche, he suggested that instead of complaining about problems, be “a problem solver.” He gave the example of calling around to secure a forklift on his own at a drop where the lack of one was going to cause a long delay, hurting his schedule and the shipper’s. “Being a problem solver in itself can also be a niche,” he said.
  • Speaking on six common mistakes made by new owner-operators, Rutherford elaborated on “partnering with the wrong carrier.” He recommended not losing focus of pleasing your customer, which is primarily your fleet if you’re a leased operator. “Bust your ass to provide value” to your fleet so that a mutually beneficial relationship develops, he said. But if it doesn’t and you’ve done all you can, by all means find a carrier that appreciates your work ethic. Griping by itself solves nothing.
  • “You like your life the way it is now or it would be different,” Larry Winget told the 350 CMC Live attendees. The best-selling author, motivational speaker and frequent television guest has built his career around telling his audience as bluntly as possible to quit making excuses. Winget, host of the former TV show “Big Spender,” recounted an episode with a woman many thousands of dollars in debt. “Don’t yell at me, yell at the credit card companies,” he recalled her saying. “If they’d quit sending them to me, I’d quit maxing them out.”

Any owner-operator with an outlook that irresponsible gets gobbled up quickly in the trucking jungle. Still, it’s human nature to blame someone else – an unreasonable dispatcher, a greedy broker, a demanding spouse – for circumstances that foremost demand you to make tough changes.

Yes, owner-operators get more than their fair share of bad things beyond their control happening to them every day. How you respond is 100 percent under your control.

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